Cheese Making At Home – Tips And Techniques

Cheese making at home can be fun, but making different kinds of cheeses requires different kinds of ingredients as well as different kinds of techniques and equipment. While some cheeses may be difficult to make, there are others that can be made easily. For cheese lovers there’s nothing like the taste of a freshly prepared cheese. Here are some helpful tips and techniques that can help you prepare your own cheese at home.

The easiest cheese that you can make at home is cottage cheese. The only ingredients this requires is milk, preferably 2 percent milk, vinegar, and salt. Homogenized milk will give the cheese less flavor as well as make it stick to your teeth, so using the lowest fat milk possible will result in the best tasting cheese. The secret is to heat the milk to a temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just before boiling. You will then add a half cup of vinegar and let the liquid cool. This will create curds and whey, which is the watery part of the milk that separates from the curds. Using a strainer or colander, drain the whey from the curds. Now you will want to add some salt to the remaining curds. You can start with a teaspoon and then add more according to the taste you seek. Depending on your tastes, you can even add additional spices to your freshly made cottage cheese such as garlic, onions, or peppers, or even some fruit. Now you can prepare your own cottage cheese recipe within a matter of minutes.

Most other cheeses may require kits as well as other supplies in order to be able to prepare them from home. One tip to keep in mind is that making hard cheeses will require some form of bacteria culture that will provide the curdling needed to make the cheese. Traditionally, unpasteurized milk was the preferred choice for making cheese. However, it is no longer easy to find this product, nor is it recommended for use as it can contain harmful organisms or bacteria. This is why you will want to purchase a cheese starter that will include the bacteria you need, as pasteurized milk removes all the bacteria from the liquid.

A great starter for novice cheese makers is something called a mesophilic starter. It comes in a form similar to yeast, which is in the form of a dried powder. You can also use what is known as DVI, or Direct Vat Innoculation, which is readily able to be added to any milk you choose. Any starter other than a DVI has to be prepared properly prior to use.

To prepare your starter, sanitize your saucepan by boiling water in it for about 5 minutes. You can then pour out the water and pour two cups of milk into the saucepan. Heat until just before boiling and turn off the heat. Once the bottom of the pan returns to room temperature, stir in the starter from the packet with a sanitized spoon. Let it sit for a few hours and then stir again. Set it aside until the mixture becomes similar to soft yogurt, which will usually take about 24 hours. Stir again and spoon the mixture into a sanitized ice cube tray. Place the tray in the freezer and once frozen remove the cubes from the tray and store them in the freezer with a zip lock bag. This will give you the starter you need to begin making your own home made cheeses.

Another ingredient needed to make your own cheese is an enzyme called rennet. It can be found in either tablet or liquid form, with one tablet usually being equal to two teaspoons of the liquid. To make hard cheese at home will also require a cheese press.

Once you have the proper tools and proper starters, you can find many recipes that will enable you to make all kinds of different cheeses. You can use all kinds of milk, such as goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, and camel milk. The important thing is doing the proper preparation and then getting a recipe for the cheese you want to create. You will notice that your taste buds will experience a sensation that can not be achieved by store cheese. While creating your own hard cheese may be a time consuming process, the taste of your home made creation will be well worth the effort and the wait.